Keeping Cat in Our Yard

Updated on June 15, 2011
L.F. asks from Whittier, CA
15 answers

so we have an outside cat and everything has been wonderful in the neighborhood until lately. recently we had a neighbor get a bird that he keeps outside and he wants us to keep our cat in our yard. hhhmmmm.... how do you confine a cat to the yard. i know we could build a real tall fence or keep him caged (caged is not an option for us).

any creative thoughts?

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answers from Jacksonville on

Regardless of the neighbor with the bird... It seems only proper that you figure out a way to keep your cat in YOUR yard only.

Aside from the dangers to the cat itself while out wandering.... they poop in other people's yards just like annoying roaming dogs do. Just because they dig a small hole and lightly cover the top with the pine straw mulch in my flower bed, doesn't mean that I don't end up sticking my hand in it when I am planting flowers. They also jump up on warm car hoods (sometimes they slip a little and leave little scratches in the paint, too)... and leave paw prints all over the windshield. And they cause my dog (who is inside my house) to bark profusely, while they sit demurely knowing (perhaps mistakenly?) that my dog is trapped inside.

I totally understand the difficulty in finding a solution, but it seems the best solution is to keep them inside. Hard to do, once they are accustomed to being able to go out, I know. But it is safer for them and more considerate of your neighbors, if you can't figure a better solution.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

What idiot gets a bird and keeps it outside? OK, that wasn't nice :) I have 3 outdoor cats, and I don't know what I'd do in your situation!! Maybe you need to explain the "circle of life" to your neighbor? Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Our cats have always stayed in our yards.
Of course my husband looks like a crazy person when he trains them.. He gets on our roof with a water hose and a sprayer. Each time the cat goes towards the fence, the yard line or the street, my husband would squirt them.. He has trained 3 different cats. It has worked with each of them..

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Not sure, but can tell where I live, its actually illegal in the city limits (I am in suburbia) to have cats roam, etc like this. They will take them if neighbors complain enough...offer live-traps if evidence is offered of a recurring issue, etc.

They dig up bulbs (why do cats do this? I dunno but I know they do it as I have seen it over and over..called animal control myself on one years and years ago that was destrying flower gardens in my neighborhood!)...they poop in kids sandboxes (nasty)...and bring disease into a home after wandering the streets and killing wild things and ingesting them or coming into contact with them (then you pet or touch them or they lay on your carpet or funrniture).

Sorry...I am a real meany on this subject. I feel horrible for pet cats when I see them wandering. Eventually I usually see them splatted on the side of my suburbia (very quiet, no-outlet so less traveled) road. Your neighbors must be very tolerant. Obviously I am not..LOL.

Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

If any cat wanders onto their property, they can trap it in a Have-a-heart trap and take it to the pound.
Every time a pet leaves your property it could be run over by a car, attacked by other animals and there was an article a few weeks ago where a cat came home with an arrow through it's head - it survived and is an indoor cat now whether he likes it or not.
It's really safer and kinder to keep your pet where you have control over what can happen to it.
If an animal is wandering - it can be caught and taken to a pound (and that is kinder than killing it outright - which some people have no qualms about) .
If the owner lets their animal out they take the risk their pet might be killed without their knowledge - the fault lies with the owner.
If you KEEP a pet - you need to keep it under your control - in your yard or house.
That's what being a responsible pet owner is all about.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

He keeps his bird outside??? Strange!

Don't you love all the "advice" you're getting about keeping your cat inside!! :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

We had a Cat Run ... basically we built a LARGE enclosure that was about 1/3 of your back yard that our cat could enter thru a "doggie door" attached to the sliding glass door and there was a separate door for us to enter/exit if we did not want to be in the "Catarium." It had a large cat tree, shelves and was covered in chicken wire ... my mom and I made it ourselves with 2x4s and shelving/brackets etc. I am sure one weekend you and your hubby could build one. Home depo pre cut the 2x4s for us since we did not have an electric saw and used a staple gun to attach the chicken wire.
In this we had live plants for our cats to play/hide in, we had tons of levels/shelving/cubby holes etc for them to lounge and play in. We also had someone come do this for us, but we added a misting system for summer. The cats (3) LOVED this area and spent more time outside then in and we would go out there and sit (we had chairs and they had litter boxes) and relax with the cats, listen to music, read books, just enjoy the warm weather. There was enough shade provided from the plants (hence misting system and warm weather) and pleanty of places to be for all, we loved it too!
Another option is to add 2x4s to the posts, for height, and put netting all around the yard like a giant canopy all over your back yard.

Ours was a lot like this one

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Shouldn't he be responsible for building a cage to protect his bird? Not sure what the rule is but that's what I would expect to do to protect a pet I get. Not only is your cat a danger but what about predatory birds and other animals?

About keeping the cat in...It is hard because anything you do to the fences will have to be done along the whole fence line and then you need to do something about any overhaning trees. Here is something I've heard of previously, It looks like you could do it with Chicken wire and brackets. I found a picture
Our Cat Loves to go out in the backyard but we don't think she was previously an outdoor kitty. Maybe something like this would work for us too. Even though we let her out for 10-15 minutes (supervised), I still worry...... hmmmmm

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

IMO and as a cat owner, I think that's a little over the top request from your neighbor. I don't see how you could keep your cat in your yard, high fence or not. Good luck, though!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

Your neighbor got a bird and therefore expects you to suddenly start keeping your outdoor cat "in the yard?" Soooooo... his pet and his rights trump yours and your cats? Wow, self-entitled much? It's funny that it didn't bother him before (I'm guessing).

Well, I'm a huge proponent of keeping cats safe and healthy and extending their lives by keeping them as indoor cats anyway. Both of my cats are indoor cats. We live nearby a main road, and we live with woods behind our house. I would never forgive myself if either got hit by a car or ended up eaten by hawks or wild cats or ended up with tics. I also have horrendous outdoor allergies so keeping them indoors means they're not bringing in pollen and poison ivy oils and lord knows what else. Lower risk of certain feline illnesses too.

I also worry a lot about people who are not cat-friendly. I have too many friends who have lost their cats to rat poison.

So you can probably guess what my response is even though I think your neighbor is a dick.

EDIT FOR A PS: I agree with MamaDuck. If he's going to ask you to accommodate in keeping your pets out of his yard, then he must also comply. No double standard here. Birds aren't the most friendly creatures and his bird could end up coming over to your yard to antagonize your cat (heh heh, I've seen it).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

Cats are domesticated animals and should not be left outside. If you love your cat keep him/her inside or find a family that will.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I didn't think anyone else had used the water spraying trick! My ex did this with a cat years ago. He sat on the deck with a SuperSoaker water gun and shot it every time it crossed into the neighbors yard. It actually worked pretty well.

But, when there's a bird on the other side, nothing will keep a cat away. No matter if you kept your cat indoors, outdoor cats roam an entire neighborhood, and so I would guess there are other cats around. This neighbor is putting his bird at high risk leaving it outdoors. Depending on where you live, there are many predators that will nab a bird.

BTW - indoor cats die of obesity-related diseases far more often that outdoor cats do. I've owned five outdoor cats and they've lived for 13, 15, & 19 years. The two young ones are now four. Our vet is completely OK with outdoor cats, and it is not illegal in our city.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

He is perfectly within his right to request you keep you cat not only out of his yard, but confined to you own. It is your cat and your responsiblity to keep it out his yard. It is not that hard. You have many options. Allowing your cat to terrorize and put his pet in jeapordy, in his yard, is not one of them.

Rachel is right in how she handles her neighbors cats and is the appropriate manner. And no one would be able to sue her for that. Most county and city shelters have cages available for that purpose, to trap unwelcomed critters into someone "private property". The pets would only risk euthanasia, if the owners do not claim them, and they are given plenty of time to figure out they have a missing pet.

I usually keep my neighbors pet until I can return them, I have had to take them to animals services when I could not care for them. If my pets get out and end up at animal service either by being picked up by animal control, or by being dropped off by a neighbor, I gaurentee I would be up there paying fine. And this situation is not about a pet getting out unintentionally, L. situation is about her alllowing her pet to roam freely encringing on her neighbors rights, not the other way around.



answers from Los Angeles on

There are companies that make fencing to help keep a cat confined within a a yard. Just do a search. Or you could try making your own if you have the fence for it.

My other thought is to build some sort of large kennel. You could probably buy a used dog run and add in some chicken wire along the inside to keep him contained on his romps outside. Just add in some plants and things to climb and he'd probably be pretty happy!


answers from Austin on

It sounds like it will be very difficult to physically prevent the cat from leaving the yard. They can climb fences and trees, no matter how tall. You would have to keep it in a building, or a screened porch thing like Kristina M. suggests, or on a leash. My cat has been so desperate to excape that it crawled out a 2nd floor window and jumped off the roof. The only time it couldn't jump the fence was when it was wearing a cone-shaped collar from the vet.
Training the cat to stay is a start. It probably has considered the neighbor's yard as part of its territory until now. Give it a treat if it comes when called, and like Laurie A. suggested, spray it(or have the neighbor spray it) with a hose when it tries to jump the fence. Stay outside and interact with it. Have it follow you on a walk around the edges of your yard. Make sure it's spayed or neutered since that's supposed to decrease the wandering instinct.

The problem here is that if it escapes just once it could eat the neighbor's bird. I personally wouldn't take the risk of leaving a bird out alone.

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